NATOMAS (CBS13) — A Natomas neighborhood association said license plate readers installed just weeks ago are already generating leads for police.
It’s a battle against petty crime, getting fast results. And what the cameras are able to track goes beyond street crime.READ MORE: Sacramento County Tackles Zip Code Vaccine Disparities
On February 24th, Natomas homeowner Azeem Bath watched from his Nest camera as a man stole a package off his porch.
“I hear about that kind of stuff happening all the time but it has just never happened to me before,” Bath said.
Many times the suspect gets away with it because there’s not enough to go off of. But this porch pirate picked the wrong neighborhood.
Bath’s cameras caught him, and one minute after the steal, license plate readers in the Hamptons got a crystal clear picture of his plate, according to Hamptons Homeowners Association President Ed Perez.
“The other thing we found out from our system was that the suspect was in our neighborhood for about 45 minutes,” Perez said.
The suspect was pinpointed and tracked. Perez said he gave what he had to Sacramento Police. A spokesperson confirms detectives are actively investigating.READ MORE: Feds' Boogaloo Indictment Details Inside of Northern California Extremist Group
“My understanding is that he may have been involved in other, earlier porch pirate incidents, so this guy is a serial porch pirate,” Perez said.
Perez said this is one of three incidents the new license plate readers have generated leads for in the last few weeks. In each case, witnesses provided a description of the car involved.
“Because we have the specific day and time, we can definitely help narrow it down,” Perez said.
Bath said the package stolen on his front steps wasn’t worth a lot, but capturing critical evidence against a criminal is priceless.
“It was more so the principle. Because if the person thinks they’re not going to get me because it’s low dollar amount, they’re gonna keep doing it to everybody,” he said.
Police haven’t made an arrest yet in this porch pirate case, but the neighborhood hopes that’s coming soon.MORE NEWS: Stockton Teen, 14, Shot While Driving Left Paralyzed
License plate readers have long sparked privacy concerns. California lawmakers got involved earlier this year and proposed legislation that would require audits of how police are using this information and how much of it they’re storing.